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How would you like to be forced to pay a “music tax” bundled into your monthly fee for internet service?
That’s what the entertainment industry is up to–and Congress needs to hear from you. The plan is objectionable on both economic and social conservative grounds. Desperate record companies can’t compete in the 21st century, so they’re looking to government coercion for a rescue. The lead industry giant spearheading the tax proposal is Warner Music Group–notorious for peddling violent, racist, cop-hating, drug-glorifying gangsta rap and currently in the process of acquiring Death Row Records’ assets– which include the work of Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
Portfolio has the scoop on the tax plan:
Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s Warner Music Group has tapped industry veteran Jim Griffin to spearhead a controversial plan to bundle a monthly fee into consumers’ internet-service bills for unlimited access to music.
The plan—the boldest move yet to keep the wounded entertainment industry giants afloat—is simple: Consumers will pay a monthly fee, bundled into an internet-service bill in exchange for unfettered access to a database of all known music.
Bronfman’s decision to hire Griffin, a respected industry critic, demonstrates the desperation of the recording industry. It has shrunk to a $10 billion business from $15 billion in almost a decade. Compact disc sales are plummeting as online music downloads skyrocket…
…Warner’s plan would have consumers pay an additional fee—maybe $5 a month—bundled into their monthly internet-access bill in exchange for the right to freely download, upload, copy, and share music without restrictions.
Griffin says those fees could create a pool as large as $20 billion annually to pay artists and copyright holders. Eventually, advertising could subsidize the entire system, so that users who don’t want to receive ads could pay the fee, and those who don’t mind advertising wouldn’t pay a dime.
Michael Arrington at TechCrunch rightly calls the scheme a “protection racket.” But it’s worse than that.
Forcing Internet users to subsidize music they don’t want and/or object to smacks of the worst kind of cultural Big Nannyism.
Where do your congressional representatives stand on this music tax proposal?
Ask them: 202-224-3121.
Arrington has more details on the plan they don’t want you to know about…
…the plan essentially comes down to telling ISPs that they can avoid any copyright infringement liability if they pay the fee on behalf of customers. And while the government wouldn’t be directly involved, the willingness of law enforcement agencies and the judicial system to enforce civil and criminal copyright infringement laws is the stick by which Griffin will convince ISPs to jump on board. It’s government endorsed extortion, nothing more and nothing less.
The effects on innovation in music would be disastrous if such a scheme were ever to become reality. It’s clearly good for the music labels, who are facing their imminent extinction. For everyone else, though, this is the worst possible thing that could happen.